The validity of adenosine triphosphate measurement in detecting endoscope contamination

C. E. McCafferty*, D. Abi-Hanna, M. J. Aghajani, G. T. Micali, I. Lockart, K. Vickery, I. B. Gosbell, S. O. Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Endoscopic procedures are vital to gastrointestinal disease diagnosis and management, but risk infection transmission. In Australia, endoscopes undergo monthly-to-quarterly microbiological testing, to prevent patient infection. Endoscopes are used more frequently, meaning contamination may not be detected by this surveillance before infection transmission occurs. Aim: To evaluate the use of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) measurement, alongside standard microbiological cultures, in detecting endoscope contamination before high-level disinfection. Using these results, we also aimed to confirm the efficacy of manual cleaning in reducing levels of ATP and cfu/mL. Methods: Seventeen in-clinical-use gastroscopes and 24 in-clinical-use colonoscopes from the Liverpool Hospital Endoscopy unit were sampled across three separate cleaning stages before high-level disinfection. Colony counts and ATP measurements were then performed on these samples. Findings: The correlation between the cfu/mL and RLU of samples collected from colonoscopes was 0.497 (95% confidence interval: 0.28–0.66; P < 0.0001). The correlation between cfu/mL and RLU for samples collected from gastroscopes was 0.377 (0.08–0.61; P = 0.0138). RLU and cfu/mL values were shown to fall significantly (P < 0.005) following precleaning and manual cleaning. Conclusion: There was a significant correlation between ATP and cfu/mL measured from samples collected before high-level disinfection. Precleaning and manual cleaning were shown to reduce ATP and microbiological load significantly. ATP measurement can be performed within minutes with little training and produces results that are easy to interpret. These findings warrant further research on the utility of ATP measurement as a screening tool for detecting endoscope contamination after high-level disinfection.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e142-e145
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


    • Adenosine triphosphate
    • Endoscope reprocessing
    • Gastrointestinal endoscopy


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